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Don’t know how you will save enough money to study abroad? Planning ahead to start your saving plan? This post will give you some simple tips on you can save money to study abroad sometime in the future?
The following was on my college bucket list: to study abroad.
I didn’t care what I had to do to study abroad. I had plenty of doubt, but I persisted. It was in my destiny to travel. Nothing was stopping me from going to Greece.
Enough about my trip. I want to make sure as many people experience studying abroad or simply traveling. You can travel somewhere in the US, and I will be happy for you.
Even though at the moment, you can’t travel or study abroad, it is the best time to start saving for it.
If you aren’t sure if you want to study abroad or doubtful, I have a blog post giving nine wonderful reasons why you should. Yet this post is all about how you can save enough money to go. This post is for college students who have dreams of traveling but do not have the current financial needs to do so.
How You Can Save Money To Study Abroad:
Plan at least a semester or a year ahead.
Seriously, I wished I would have planned out my study abroad trip saving plan better. I still managed to go to Greece, but for my France trip, I did research a year ahead. Once I arrived home, I had a plan on how to earn enough money to go on my trip.
Research. Research. Research!
This is a huge part of this plan. You MUST research. You have to put in time researching simple costs and where you want to go. I researched for a while before choosing my two study abroad trips. Have an idea of how much each program costs, where you can get scholarship money, how much a flight ticket is going cost, and how much money you’ll need while on the trip. I used websites like SkyScanner and TripAdvisor to monitor and watch flights. Figure out the weather, what you need need to pack, and what documentation you’ll need.
Figure out your current monthly income and expenses.
I always recommend making a monthly budget to see how much money you intend to spend, save, and bring in. A monthly budget guides you to see how much money you are actually spending and eases financial trouble, as well.
Lock it away.
If you have access, find yourself another bank or step up a savings account solely for this trip. Have an account for campus emergency money and one for any scholarship, refund, or job savings you receive.
Apply to any and every scholarship, grant, and job.
Obviously, do this. Don’t doubt yourself. Seriously. I applied to study abroad scholarships with my university college that did not relate anywhere close to Greece. I managed to not get in the first round and panicked because I just paid the deposit and promised my roommate I’d go. But someone dropped out last minute, and I was the next person they considered for the scholarship.
Relax and have faith.
Firstly, have faith and believe in yourself. I know that this sounds cheesy but have faith. Pray. Manifest. Meditate. Do whatever relaxes you. Believe that you can and will be able to save money.
Believing in yourself is one of the main tips to succeed. If you don’t believe that you can save x amount of dollars each month, then you won’t try. Don’t give up!
Monitor flights & book cheap.
Use tons of websites. Seriously. Use every single flight-tracking website. One app I used was Hopper. It gives you an idea of how much a flight would cost and around what time of the year it is best to buy a ticket. This app was a lifesaver for when I went to Greece. I had no idea what I was doing or how to buy a ticket. Using Hopper saved me both money and hours of hunting down the lowest price. Additionally, it notified me when flight prices dropped and if that price was the lowest I was going to get.
Set a daily budget for the trip.
This step is where I fell flat. One day in Greece and I spent more money than I intended. I didn’t really “budget” because I was on this high that I was going to flipping Greece! Clearly, I wouldn’t get another opportunity like that, so why not spend it on whatever I want?
Don’t do this. I had outstanding credit debt due to this. We were expected to spend around $30 a day for meals outside of breakfast. I did not do that. You can simply Google how much to spend a day at your destination.
Get to know people in your group.
Equally important as getting on the trip, you need to get to know who you’re going with. Obviously, you’ll be spending time with these people, but you might split eating costs with people. This is an important advantage that summer group trips have over individual study abroad trips.
Beg family members for money (or fundraise).
This tip can be difficult for some, impossible due to socioeconomic reasons, or easy for some. I held off the longest telling anyone outside of my friends, campus acquaintances, and professors. My roommate did the same. Yet when I told my father, he offered me a couple hundred to spend.
Alternatively, you can also raise money to study abroad. Some people start GoFundMe’s to raise money for their trip. A girl on my trip had a garage sale so she can go on the trip. There are several ways you can make money.
Speak to the financial office on campus.
While I was working 20 plus hours a week, selling random clothes on Poshmark for groceries, and locking away my scholarship money, another person I know simply asked a financial advisor and professor if they can work on the trip for our school and write for it. I had no idea if this was possible, but I wished I tried or asked around.
But I’ve heard other stories of people speaking to a financial advisor on campus to figure out how to pay for their trip. I know that some people space their payments out with the university to pay it off instead of one huge price.
Spend wisely for packing & shopping prior.
Similar to my credit accumulation while in Greece, I also spent a lot of money on buying new clothes for the trip itself. Louisiana’s and Greece’s climate were that not different. (Greece had less humidity, for sure). It wasn’t like I was coming from sunny Florida to cooler Denmark. Spend wisely while shopping for materials. You’ll find hundreds of study abroad lists that say to add this and that item, but more than likely you won’t use it or forget about it.
Sure, buy a cute outfit or two, but don’t overdo it. You’ll probably also want to buy more clothes while on your trip. Think before you buy it!
Meanwhile, if you pack too many items, you’ll also end up piling more onto your luggage weight. That can also bring more costs. Beware!
Learn the best place to convert money.
Eventually, you’re going to need to convert money into another currency. I had no idea what a Euro looked like, and now I want to collect all of them. Call your bank and ask how much the conversion rate is and to inform them that you are going outside of the country. Currency rates change each day and depend on the country. Banks also need to know that you are the one shopping around in a foreign country and not a complete stranger.
When I was in Greece, our first place in Athens had an ATM and I would go down there every few hours to take money out of my account. Get a decent amount at one time. It may look like a few cents, but it adds up after a month. Even when we stopped in random shops, they offered us to exchange money. One guy was nice enough to offer us for each one dollar, he’ll give us a euro!
Look out for exchange rates!
Pay your program off and go have fun.
Lastly and finally, pay the program off. The last thing you should do is constantly worry about money. Most cities have some sort of free or cheap activity you could do. Just like at home, you shouldn’t have money on your mind 24/7. Travel to get away and experience something new. Saving money should not deteriorate the fun out of your trip.
Have fun and take tons of photos! You (will) work to have enough money to study abroad, so relax!